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  1. Julie says:

    I am very similar to Kate and Christi. We have a set bedtime routine that begins at 8pm and my 5 month old guy will fall asleep between 830 and 9 every night. Some mornings he wakes when I wake at 5am and refuse to go back to sleep. Sometimes We have to wake him to leave in the morning. On the weekends, we all sleep until about 9.
    I am concerned about his naps though because he doesn’t have a “schedule”. We are more of the flexible nappers . He is awake 2 hours and then naps. Sometimes he’ll go 2.5 hours.
    Sometimes his naps are 30 minutes and sometimes they’re 1.5 hours. I don’t know if I should have his caretaker try to get him on a clock schedule or if What we’re doing is ok? He is the only child that our caretaker watches, so it’s not a “convenience” issue for her when his naps are sporadic.
    Should we have the caretaker start trying to sleep train by the clock?
    Thanks!

    • Janelle Reid says:

      Hi @Julie, thanks for writing to us! At 5 months it is normal for naps to be based on the previous wake up time like you are doing, rather than by the clock, but this is certainly an age you could begin to implement a by the clock schedule. Since it sounds like your little guy has various wake up times, once you implement a nap plan you may find that needs to stay consistent as well, so I don’t know if that will be a possibility to you? Just wanted to throw that in there for you to consider. Here is a link to a free guide you can download with tips on naps that may help: https://www.babysleepsite.com/free-baby-nap-guide/
      Additionally, if you want more detailed information on naps and schedules you may want to check out our ebook about Mastering Naps & Schedules: https://www.babysleepsite.com/mastering-naps/
      I hope this helped answer your questions! If you need anything else, please let us know, we are here!

  2. Emily DeJeu says:

    @ Kate — Two easy ways to help develop a more clock-oriented schedule include establishing a consistent bedtime and wake time. Try to pick times that work well with your general schedule. There will certainly be days when bedtime and morning wake time may vary, due to schedule, but if you can stay consistent most of the time, that will really help your son get into a nice rhythm.

    As for naps — that’s tougher. I’d recommend trying to establish clock-based nap times, but use your judgement day to day in determining if a nap should happen earlier or later, depending on outside factors (like how long it’s been since the last nap, if morning wake time was too early/late, etc.)

    Does this help? Thanks for commenting, Kate!

  3. Kate says:

    My situation is kind of like Christi’s: my 6.5 month old baby wakes up at irregular times. Most days it’s around 7:30, but sometimes he has to get up at 6:30 to come to work with me, and other days he sleeps until 8:30. It makes it hard to schedule naps by the clock. Nap length varies as well. Would you recommend waking him up in the mornings to gain consistency? Or putting him down for naps at the same time every day anyway (even if he has only been awake for an hour)?

    (For what it’s worth, I can’t work on a real schedule with him until he’s 7.5 months anyway–that’s when my girls will be back in school!)

  4. Emily DeJeu says:

    @ Christi — this is a good question. I’d say it depends on the age of your baby, to be honest. I think the kind of floating schedule that you describe here is perfect for a newborn or a young infant (maybe up to 6 months). During the first six months, it makes perfect sense to create a schedule that’s driven by your baby’s rhythms and needs and not by the clock.

    I think that for older babies, though, a more clock-based schedule is appropriate. And by the time you reach the toddler stage, having the same bedtime each night is important, since it provides consistency and helps reinforce the daily routines and schedule.

    Make sense? Hope this helps, Christi! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  5. Christi says:

    I feel like I am a little bit of both rigid and flexible all at once. We rigidly “float” my baby’s nap schedule, i.e. we go by awake time rather than a specific time on the clock, so my little one naps for however long he naps for, and then is up for an hour and a half until his next nap.

    The problem: a floating schedule means bedtime is at different times every day. I was wondering whether you think having a regular bedtime is better than having a floating bedtime. I know routine is important, but sometimes if he naps late, it is really hard to put him down after only 45 minutes of awake time, and on the other hand, if he naps early, it’s hard to keep him up long enough to reach his “bedtime” without having him hit his second wind or pass out from sheer exhaustion while I’m nursing him before bed.

  6. Emily DeJeu says:

    @ Karen – good for you for doing what you know is best, in spite of pressure from others!

    @ Diana – thanks for sharing the details of your experience with us! And you’re right; flexibility is key. Well said! Thanks for commenting, Diana!

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